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August 8, 2016: N.F.L. Hall of Fame Game Canceled Because of Field Conditions, Rio Deploys Massive Amount of Security to Fight Crime During Olympics, Six Flags and Samsung Team Up for VR Rollercoaster Ride

1. N.F.L. HALL OF FAME GAME CANCELED BECAUSE OF FIELD CONDITIONS: The Hall of Fame Game on Sunday between the Colts and the Packers, which would have been the first N.F.L. preseason game this year, was canceled because of poor field conditions at the Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio. The cancelation was caused by paint problems on the midfield and end zone logos. ESPN: “Hall of Fame president/executive director David Baker called the decision to cancel the game ‘difficult,’ but he added that it was an ‘easy, ethical decision.’ He told ESPN's Lisa Salters the call was made after consulting with coaches Mike McCarthy and Chuck Pagano, as well as NFL COO Tod Leiweke. Both teams remained at the stadium, which instead hosted a fan fest-type event. According to Baker, fans will be refunded their money. ‘There was a lot of conversation but, at the end of the day, you've got to make a decision, and the decision was made for player safety,’ McCarthy said.  One Packers player described it as ‘like cement’ at midfield, where workers spent more than an hour trying to make it playable. According to another source, the problem was made worse when workers tried to use heat to dry the excess paint, as that melted the rubber pellets in the field turf. Colts owner Jim Irsay called it a ‘very unusual situation.’ … Asked whether the induction ceremony and game should be held at a different venue in the future to avoid such issues, Packers president Mark Murphy said, ‘I think that's a question for later, but I think the league and the Hall of Fame, and as owners and myself and others from the Packer organization—when we get together at league meetings, I think we need to look at some of those issues.’”

2. RIO DEPLOYS MASSIVE AMOUNT OF SECURITY TO FIGHT CRIME DURING OLYMPICS: The state government of Rio de Janeiro has deployed a security force of 85,000 to patrol the busy streets of the city in an effort to fight off street crime during the Olympics. The New York Times: “Still, the overwhelming show of force has not exactly vanquished crime. The chief of security for the opening ceremony was mugged at knife point on Friday night as he left Olympic Stadium; a stray bullet landed in the equestrian arena’s media tent on Saturday, just missing a New Zealand sports official; and on Saturday night, Portugal’s education minister was assaulted as he strolled along Rio’s upscale lagoon, the site of the rowing competition. In their preparation for the Olympics, Brazilian officials confronted a number of challenges that had spooked some international visitors, including fears over the Zika epidemic, the threat of terrorist attacks and unflattering news media reports that drew attention to the city’s polluted waters. But it is the recent surge in street crime that has most unnerved city officials and residents, who worry that an embarrassing spike in lawlessness could dent the pride and euphoria that have taken hold here since the Summer Games began last week. … Officials have sought to reassure visitors, pointing out that the security force is more than twice the number dispatched during the London Olympics of 2012. They also note that Rio has successfully hosted other large sporting events, including the 2014 World Cup. The city’s security woes have been exacerbated by a severe budget crunch, which has hampered the government’s ability to pay police officers. The sense of crisis was underscored in June, when the state government declared a ‘financial calamity.’ In recent weeks, police officers who said their salaries had been delayed or only partially paid demonstrated at Rio’s international airport, holding up signs for arriving passengers that read, ‘Welcome to hell.’”

3. SIX FLAGS AND SAMSUNG TEAM UP FOR VR ROLLERCOASTER RIDE: Six Flags has partnered with Samsung to bring a virtual-reality rollercoaster ride called Rage of the Gargoyles to eight of the amusement park company's North American locations this fall. The ride—open to people ages 13 and over—will use Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus, and will be at six parks bearing the Six Flags name, a Great Escape in New York state, and the La Ronde park in Montreal. Press release: "In Rage of the Gargoyles, riders—wearing Samsung Gear VR headsets—are pilots seated in the cockpit of an Apache-style helicopter. With a devastated cityscape as the backdrop, a fleet of choppers prepares to battle an army of terrorizing, winged creatures. The action-packed adventure begins when riders ascend up the coaster’s lift hill as the blood-thirsty gargoyles mercilessly attack the copter’s fragile glass barrier. The epic on-screen conflict quickly accelerates as the high-definition imagery synchs perfectly to the coaster’s movements sending riders twisting, turning and diving through the hazardous city streets—flying over battered skyscrapers, plunging underneath twisted bridges and dodging falling debris, all while shooting to repel these lethal demons and conquer the vicious master gargoyle. A surprise ending to this fully-immersive virtual odyssey will leave guests breathless, and ready to experience Rage of the Gargoyles over and over again. This groundbreaking VR coaster gaming experience does not need a touchpad or buttons to activate, allowing riders to keep their hands on the lap bar as they shoot. Instead, the mounted Gatling guns on the helicopters are controlled through head movements and as soon as an attacker is targeted, the weapon automatically fires. Target tracking graphics will display in HMD (Head Mounting Display) style to demonstrate the autofire function."


ATLANTA:  WoodSpring Hotels has teamed up with Pragat 1921 to build a new WoodSpring Suites hotel on Highway 138 in Stockbridge. Scheduled to open in 2018, the four-story, 122-room hotel will offer in-room kitchens, free high-speed Internet, and guest laundry services.

AUSTIN:  Fairmont Austin, the 37-story luxury hotel expected to open in the summer of 2017, has revealed that its design will pay homage to the neighboring Palm Park. Upon entering the hotel, guests will be greeted by two 24-foot-high by 26-foot-wide towering Heritage Oak trees which flank the reception desk, while the hotel's Park Lounge will have a geometric, life-size topiary garden with a majestic tree and moving lights aimed at the ceiling. Fairmont Austin's outdoor spaces were designed by the Austin-based company DWG, while San Francisco-based Warren Sheets Design handled the interior spaces.

BOSTON:  The Rocky Horror Picture Show star Barry Bostwick will attend a screening party for the movie October 28 at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts in Worcester. He will do a Q&A and judge a costume contest at the event.

DAYTON, OHIO:  The 5,500-seat Hara Arena in Trotwood is shutting down at the end of August, but the 3,780-seat Hobart Arena, about 25 miles away in Troy, is expected to pick up much of the closed venue's business. Hobart Arena has been temporarily closed for renovations since July, and is expected to partially re-open in September and get back to being fully operational in January. WDTN:

DENVER:  Denver Consulting Group, which services the cannabis industry, is offering its Denver headquarters as an event space for businesses in and out of the cannabis industry. Possession and sales of small quantities of marijuana have been legal in Colorado since 2014. D.C.G.'s event space can seat as many as 200 people, has a professional audio/video system, and can be used for meetings, social gatherings, and live performances.

LOS ANGELES:  Dr. Mehmet Oz will host the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 2016 Voice Awards, a program that recognizes community leaders and people in the entertainment industry who work to increase understanding of mental disorders and substance use. The award show, which will be held Wednesday at UCLA's Royce Hall, will honor actor-spouses Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard; father-and-son filmmakers Rob and Nick Reiner; and entertainers and advocates Yashi Brown, Rebbie Jackson, and Stacy Brown.

Hall & Oates are headlining the inaugural Blue Sun Music & Wine Festival, which will take place September 3 at the Westlake Golf Course in Westlake Village. Other performers at the event will include Michael McDonald, Strunz & Farah, and Robert Davi.

Bibigo, a fast-casual restaurant offering a modern twist on Korean cuisine, opened Friday at the Westfield Culver City shopping center. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Fury Road Riders Club and Fast Town are hosting the fund-raiser "Cars, Art and Caffeine, Fort Lauderdale" on Sunday in the FATVillage Arts District. Motorcycle riders are encouraged to attend the event, which will benefit Phantom Rescue, a charity that helps underage victims of human trafficking.

MINNEAPOLIS:  The first official Prince tribute concert will take place October 13 at the U.S. Bank Stadium. The concert's lineup is to be announced. Although there have been several musical tributes to the singer since his death in April, this will be the first Prince tribute concert endorsed and organized by his family.

NASHVILLE:  Live Nation has signed a three-year deal to be a non-exclusive booker and promoter of concerts at the Municipal Auditorium, which has a seating capacity of 9,700. Under the terms of the deal, Live Nation will pay $1 million to the auditorium's operating fund, and Metro Council (the legislative authority of Nashville and Davidson County) will pay for $1.5 million in venue upgrades. The Tennessean:

NEW YORK:  Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center is having its 10th annual Get Wild Summer Gala on Saturday at the Channing Family Sculpture Garden in Bridgehampton. The event will be hosted by Molly Channing, emceed by Cindy Clifford, and will honor Ingrid Arneberg and Will Marin. Live animals and a silent auction will be part of the gala. For the first time at the event, there will be a V.I.P. cocktail party to welcome the 2016 sponsors, which include Douglas Elliman, Cygnet Foundation, and Ritz & Osborne.

The inaugural Clearmountain Festival, a benefit for the New Jersey Arts Education Partnership, will take place August 26 at the Montclair Women's Club in Montclair. The event will have performances by local artists Pinegrove, Stolen Jars, Topaz Jones, Half Waif, Werebears, Cranes are Flying, Shakai Mondai, and Gifts.

Blue Ribbon Restaurants chefs and co-founders Bruce and Eric Bromberg are launching Blue Ribbon Federal Grill this fall on the ground level of AKA Wall Street. The restaurant's cuisine has not yet been decided, but a spokesperson says that the venue will have a "fun and casual" atmosphere.

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

PHOENIX/SCOTTSDALE:  Hotel Valley Ho has appointed Ronen Aviram as general manager.

SALT LAKE CITY:  The 47th annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival will take place August 12-14 on Main Street in Park City. More than 200 artists will participate in the event, according to organizers. There will also be live entertainment, food trucks, and children's activities.

TORONTO:  The Toronto Urban Roots Festival will take place September 16-18 at Fort York, Garrison Common. Headliners of the indie music event include James Bay, Barenaked Ladies, Death Cab For Cutie, and Jimmy Eat World. 

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With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Carla Hay, Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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